Official blog of Clark's Blogging for Journalists class, Mass Communication department

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog adoption guidelines

Blog adoption guidelines for second half of semester:
“We want a sense of what makes this blog effective, and to learn from the blogger’s experience.”

Presentations will start iMarch 31
  • You must show the blog visually in your presentation, scroll through it and discuss..
  • You must interview the blogger, by email or on the phone. I recommend you contact them now to make sure they know what you're doing. Last minute, "they did not respond" doesn't cut it
  • If you cannot make contact, you will need to choose a different blog.
  • One page outline of main points (example to come) handed to every member of class while discussing it:
  • List the Name and url of the blog.
1.     History of the blog—
a.     How long blogging?
b.     Who is the blogger? (Age, profession, etc.)
c.      Purpose?
d.     Geographic location?
e.     Number of followers?
f.      Does it make money?
g.  Why do they blog?
2.     What makes this blog unique?
3.     What are its strengths?
4.     What are its weaknesses?
5.     What is the advice of the blogger?
6.     What do you like and dislike?, and why
7.     What did you gain that influences you and your blog?
  • You will present a 500-word  maximum paper to me with all the information the day of the presentations.
  • You will post your presentation outline on your blog, with a screenshot of the blog.

Blog essay grading

Blog essay due March 13
  1. Introduction--10
  2. Thesis statement--10
  3. Support-20
  4. Conclusio-10
  5. Original thoughts--10
  6. Paragraphing--10
  7. Links/sources--10
  8. Spelling--50 percent off if misspelled
  9. Grammar--10
  10. Followed submission guidelines--10

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blog speaker Tuesday--be on time

Dr. Hochenauer
Dr. Kurt Hochenauer, English professor and blogger, will speak to the class Tuesday. You are responsible for taking notes and blogging about him--an assignment worth 20 points.

His blog is Okie Funk--Notes from the Outback. Okie Funk is currently listed on The Fix in The Washington Post as one of the best state-based political blogs in the country.

Do not be rude and come in to class late. Be on time, or lose points.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ex-student's article

Here's the link to George's article. Prepared to be impressed:

OU Heisman winner...

Blogging and your future--ex-student view

I got this email today:

Dr. Clark,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the comment you posted on my NewOK story and for tweeting out my success. Being published on the largest local forum meant a great deal to me, and I give much credit to you for helping me achieve it (You don't know how my inner dialogue screams 'Verbs! Verbs!' at me whenever I write!).

So, again, thank you.

I also wanted to share something interesting with you, that maybe you can pass on to to future blogging classes.

Like I'm sure many people wonder while taking a class based around blogging, one of the biggest questions I had was 'How can this skill actually help me make money?'  I got my answer by accident, actually, when I was looking to get my foot in the door at The Oklahoman and stumbled upon the job I now have.

"Content Marketing," the ad read.  I thought I'd give it a shot, hoping to meet the right people that could get me into news.

When I interviewed for the position, I was a little freaked by how much of my online history had been analyzed (a good lesson in how important Facebook and Twitter etiquette can be).  Old blog posts, website contributions and a bunch of other online traces of me were brought up.  The good thing, though, was that because I'd done so much of that (in a clean manner), the interview was more like a recruiting session -- they felt they had to have me more than I needed them.

Now, my job mainly consists of blogging -- blogging for clients, blogging to build lesser-known websites, blogging for myself even. And I'm nowhere near alone in this. The department I work in employs about 10 people like myself, as well as four or five specialty bloggers. To put it lightly: blogging is huge.

So, I wanted to share this with you in case that cliched "When am I going to use this in the real world?" question ever came up. You can tell them 'em that, odds are, they'll use it a lot.

Thanks again -- for everything.

George Darkow

Blogging right along

Explore these links . spend at least 10 minutes on each site. Find something new about blogging that interests you and comment below, by end of class today.
(If you're serious about blogging, join blogoklhoma.

Dr. Kurt Hochenauer, UCO English professor, will speak to our class in the near future about blogging. Here is his blog, Okiefunk--Notes from the Outback. What are two questions you'd like to ask him?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Prof goofed, deadline extended.

Ok bloggers,

Deadline extended until 10 am tomorrow:

Post three links for sources on your essay below.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Who's who and what's what, bloggers

Assignment for Thursday. Post below, by 5 pm Wednesday.
1. Two blog names, and the urls of two bloggers you want to interview and report on
2. Two possible blog essay topics, about blogging in today's world

Getting "ahead" in blogging

When I started writing a monthly newspaper trade column almost 20 years ago, the Internet was relatively new, as was email. There were no blogs, no Facebook, no Instagram, no twitter. Digital cameras were high priced.

I remember teaching headline writing in classes and for the Oklahoma Press Association.  At the time, I always said the headline was the most important element on a page, because it accomplished four different chores at once. They grab attention, tell the story, rate the news, and help dress up your pages.

Today, there are still headlines, and all of that is still true.

But while the way we write headlines has changed dramatically with digital type—rather than having to “count” spaces, we just tap a key to reduce or enlarge sizes to fit, they’re more important than ever.

In fact, they accomplish even more. Ever hear of SEO (Search engine optimization)?  Of course you have.

Tell me,  isn’t that what a good headline has always been?

And today, as our attention spans get shorter and shorter thanks to digital media and the explosion of speed delivering news in all media, they’re crucial to attracting impatient, hurried, distracted-by-other-media readers.

I just “read” the New York Times this morning. How? By scanning the headlines on the computer.  Check any other news outlet on line. People scan the headlines and expect to come away with a general sense of what has happened. We’ll go back and read the ones we want more information in later. All the Internet search engines spend lots of money trying to come up with catchy headlines to attract you to their pages, and thus boost ad hits.

Nothing new, is it, except the media and the speed?

 I’ve found I need to teach my blogging students how to write “headlines” on their blog posts. I took it for granted until I found my blog traffic going up depending on the words in the headlines, and that most of my students had no clue.

All those old headline practices and tips that I’ve taught, or written about in the past have changed with the digital world. To me, there are only two rules in headline writing these days: Be accurate. Don’t be boring.
They one important key to attracting readers to your posts.

So, here’s a brief how-to checklist on writing  headlines, in any media, especially blogs.
  • What’s the key point of the article?
  • What will most appeal to your readers?
  • Make a list of the strongest, most concrete nouns and verbs
  • Have you chosen words that are trending in search engines?
  • Use action verbs when possible
  • Use short words   
  •  Look for anything unusual 
  •   Is there any play on words you can use to heighten interest?
  • Use the shortest words possible 
  • Use the biggest type you can (for print version)
  • Use consistent legible type (no fancy fonts)
  • Get to the point early
  • More label heads are ok—one or two strong words—with or without a verb (Let a subhead add essential details)
  • Edit—ask yourself if you can write it more briefly
Students: check the headlines on your posts and see how they measure up.
Below, comment on one thing you will improve.
(A version of this article will appear in the February, 2014, issue of The Oklahoma Publisher, the statewide newspaper of the Oklahoma Press Assocaition, under "Clark's critique).

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cold comfort and amazing grace

Ten degrees? Snow covered streets? So? UCO opens at 11 today.
Tough it out bloggers, but in case you don't want to, this is the second "No absence" day ( won't take roll)--amazing grace---don't take chances.
If you don't come to class, or do, here is the assignment.
1. First, as a student looking to your future in this wild techno-world, read this article from The New York Times, about what you need to survive. I think this article is so important all my students should read it. Link Here.
2. So what passion do you bring to survive? Comment below, on general impressions on the article and your answer, by 5 pm today.
3.If you do come to class, I will be there, because I drive an all-wheel drive Subaru, and we can chat and consider the meaning of the u.niverse.
4. Also comment below, in a separate post, your opinion about the reasoning of UCO being open in weather like this, while schools are closed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Three assignments for today

1. Blogosphere update...If you're in media...and you need to know about Nielson. While this report is older, it shows you where blogging is going. Also note the social media news in the sidebar.
Here's the link.
2. How does the design of your blog measure up? Check this guide of 10 ways to make your blog shine. Ignore the ads. In comment section below this post, give me one thing you learned that may help your blog. By 5 pm today. Here's the link.
3. If you're a blogger...and you have to speak the language. Do you know these terms?
  1. Archive
  2. Attribution
  3. Blog
  4. Blog carnival
  5. Blog hostBlog post
  6. Blog statistics
  7. Blogger
  8. Blogging software
  9. Blogosphere
  10. Browser
  11. Blogroll
  12. Comment moderation
  13. Comment policy
  14. Dashboard
  15. Domain Name
  16. Feed
  17. Feed reader
  18. Footer
  19. Forum
  20. FTP

Absence free day today

Bloggers--because of the weather, even though UCO is open, do not risk safety. I will not take roll today.

There will be assignments posted here later this morning, to be completed by today.